Discovering that you or your family members have food allergies can feel overwhelming. But, take heart! Food allergies don’t have to keep you from healthy eating, and often times don’t even need to keep you from enjoying the foods you love!
Here, I share some of my favorite tips and substitutions to help you navigate cooking to accommodate food allergies.
My husband and son both have severe egg allergies, so nothing I bake contains eggs. If you need to bake egg-free don’t fret, it’s easy to modify most recipes without them!
There are good powdered egg substitutes that you can purchase such as Ener-G or Bob’s Red Mill Egg Replacer. These work well in most baked goods.
Other options for baking can include pureed fruits like banana or pumpkin, or a buttermilk and yogurt mixture is also a good option for baking (for vegan buttermilk simply mix non-dairy milk and vinegar).
But, of all the options for baking, my favorite egg substitutes are chia “eggs” and gelatin “eggs”.
The pro’s to chia “eggs” are that chia is easy to find (Costco sells huge bags for a great price), a bit more economical, and works for vegans and vegetarians. Chia is a great option too because it’s a good source of protein and fiber, and an excellent source of Omega-3 fatty acids. To prepare a chia “egg” simply:
Grind 1 Tablespoon of chia seed to a “meal” using a coffee grinder or spice grinder
Mix with 3 Tablespoons of water
This combination makes the equivalent of 1 egg (if you don’t like seeing the texture of black chia seeds, white seeds are available online or in health stores).
I personally love using gelatin “eggs”. Gelatin “eggs” provide more protein than an actual egg for a skinny 47 calories per serving, plus there are other benefits to consuming gelatin because it contains collagen with can help strengthen skin and bones. I use Great Lakes 100% grass-fed gelatin which I order online from Amazon. To prepare a gelatin “egg” simply:
Mix 1 tbsp of gelatin with 1 tbsp warm water wisking until it becomes slightly fluffy
Add additional 2 tbsp of hot water and wisk into a paste-like texture
This combination makes the equivalent of 1 egg (note: if you are preparing something that calls for many eggs or egg whites, typically 3 or more, it may work best to try a combination of chia and gelatin “eggs” for better binding.)
Record numbers of people are showing signs and symptoms of dairy intolerance. If you’ve decided to reduce or eliminate dairy from your diet, here are a few of my favorite ways to keep the creamy, cheesy flavors in recipes.
For substituting dairy in foods like shakes and smoothies, coffee, or homemade ice cream, my favorite milk is unsweetened cashew milk. It’s super creamy and for only 25 calories per cup, it’s my personal favorite.
When I’m looking for ultra-creaminess and willing to factor in a few extra calories, full-fat whipped coconut milk can’t be beat. And, in moderation, soy milk (if not sensitive) is a great way to add protein to most anything calling for milk.
To add a “cheesy” flavor to foods calling for cheese, I love nutritional yeast. It’s a wonderful source of protein and minerals and lends a cheesy flavor to foods. Its great sprinkled on top of popcorn, veggies, sweet potatoes, and casseroles! For dairy-free nacho cheese I love this low-calorie recipe! We eat this on top of loaded nachos for meatless Monday! http://minimalistbaker.com/cashew-less-vegan-queso/
Other great ways to get that creamy dairy texture is with mashed bananas in baked goods and shakes. Potato-flakes are a tasty, low-calorie way to thicken soups and stews. And, a pinch of xanthan gum makes everything it touches thick, smooth and creamy. I love adding this to my protein shakes for a “frosty” like texture!
My entire family has been eating gluten-free for the past 4 years after discovering that my husband had Intestinal Bowel Disease. The idea of gluten-free living feels daunting for many people, but I assure you it is easier than you may think! Nearly every recipe can be modified to be gluten-free and still super delicious! Easy ways to replace gluten are to use rice, quinoa (my favorite) or corn based noodles in in pasta recipes. Rudi’s makes wonderful, huge, gluten-free tortillas for only 90 calories each. My favorite gluten-free bread of all time is from Canyon Bakehouse. It’s AH-mazing. But, it does contain egg, so we opt for a vegan sandwich bread from Schar. They, offer a large selection of gluten-free breads. While not quite as delicious as Canyon’s bread, it’s a good back-up. It is by far best when toasted!
As far as gluten-free flours, my go-to is gluten-free oat flour. I like that is provides a good source of fiber of protein and is versatile enough to use in nearly every recipe for baked goods. I buy Bob’s Red Mill gluten-free oats by the 4-pack on Amazon and blend half into flour using a 14-cup food processor. The ground flour can be stored in the refrigerator to keep it fresh.
If you’re navigating different food sensitivities, be encouraged! You can still enjoy so many amazing foods and nearly every recipe here on Dashing Dish can be modified to meet your dietary needs! If you have a specific food that you’re looking for an allergy friendly replacement for, you’re welcome to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’ll do my best to help! And, while I’m not a food allergy expert, and cannot provide medical guidance, I can certainly share my favorite foods and successes!